NOVEMBER 2-5, 2017

and year round

in partnership with the MADISON PUBLIC LIBRARY FOUNDATION

How Not to Be Wrong - Jordan Ellenberg - <span class="date-display-single">10/16/2014 - 5:30pm</span>

How Not to Be Wrong

10/16/2014 - 5:30pm

Central Library - Community Room

In partnership with the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities, the Wisconsin Book Festival presents Jordan Ellenberg.  The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how wrong this view is: Math touches everything we do, allowing us to see the hidden structures beneath the messy and chaotic surface of our daily lives. It’s a science of not being wrong, worked out through centuries of hard work and argument.

 

How early should you get to the airport? What do measures of “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? What’s the best way to get rich playing the lottery? How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind these and many more questions, using the mathematician’s methods and hard-won insights, minus the jargon. Ellenberg guides general readers along the way with rigor, humor and lively irreverence. Drawing from history as well as the latest theoretical developments, Ellenberg demonstrates that profound mathematical ideas are present whenever we reason, from the commonplace to the cosmic. It’s a dizzying spin through three thousand years of mathematics, encountering – among other things – baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, packing 24-dimensional spheres, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, the invention of calculus, and the existence of God.

 

This event is being held in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Jordan Ellenberg

About Presenter Jordan Ellenberg

 

Jordan Ellenberg grew up in Potomac, MD, the child of two statisticians. He excelled in mathematics from a young age, and competed for the U.S. in the International Mathematical Olympiad three times, winning two gold medals and a silver. He went to college at Harvard, got a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins, and then returned to Harvard for his Ph.D. in math. After graduate school, he was a postdoc at Princeton. In 2004, he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he is now the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Mathematics.

 

Ellenberg’s research centers on the fields of number theory and algebraic geometry, the parts of mathematics which address fundamental questions about algebraic equations and their solutions in whole numbers. Ellenberg’s research has uncovered new and unexpected connections between these subjects and algebraic topology, the study of abstract high-dimensional shapes and the relations between them. Ellenberg was a plenary speaker at the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings, the largest mathematics conference in the world, and he has lectured about his research around the United States and in ten other countries. He has held an NSF-CAREER grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and in 2013 he was named one of the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society.

 

Ellenberg has been writing for a general audience about math for more than fifteen years; his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Wired, The Believer, and the Boston Globe, and he is the author of the “Do the Math” column in Slate. His Wired feature story on compressed sensing appeared in the Best Writing on Mathematics 2011 anthology. His novel, The Grasshopper King, was a finalist for the 2004 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.

 

He lives in Madison, WI, with his wife, Tanya Schlam, and their two children.

RECENT BOOK:

How Not to Be Wrong


201 W. Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703

 

join the conversation #wibookfest

we couldn't do it without you: